Approximately 12,00,000 new cancer cases are diagnosed in India every year. Recent times have seen an increase in the cancer incidence in our country. The incidence of cancer and cancer types are influenced by many factors such as age, sex, race, local environmental factors, diet and genetics. In males, lung followed by oral cavity and throat cancers are the most common, while cervical and breast cancers are the commonest ones diagnosed in females in India.
“Cancer is a group of conditions where the body cells begin to grow and reproduce in an uncontrolled manner. These cells can then invade and destroy healthy tissues. The cells become cancerous or malignant because of DNA damage. This damage can be inherited, or can be caused by mistakes happening while normal cell is reproducing or by an environmental stimulus like tobacco. Cancer cells may travel to other parts of the body, where they begin to grow and form new tumors. This is known as metastases. It happens when cells get into blood stream or lymph vessels,” says Dr Prashant Upadhyay, consultant radiation oncologist, Apollo Cancer Hospital.
The lecture was delivered at Indira Priyadarshani Auditorium, Public Gardens on Sunday.
Types of cancer
There are over 200 types of cancers, but most fit into the following categories:
Carcinoma - Cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs.
Sarcoma - Cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscles or other connective tissue.
Leukaemia - Cancer that starts in blood forming tissue such as bone marrow.
Lymphoma & Myeloma - Cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system.
It is important to be aware of unexplained changes to your body. The typical sign and symptoms are:
Changes in bowel habits - Diarrhoea/constipation for no obvious reasons. A Sore that doesn’t heal.
- Unusual Bleeding or Discharge - Unexplained blood in urine, stool, between periods, in vomit, cough.
- Thickening or Lump - Consult a doctor if you notice a lump anywhere in your body. Indigestion or Difficulty in Swallowing
- Obvious change in wart or mole.
- Nagging Cough/Breathlessness/Hoarseness - If you have had a cough, breathlessness for more than two weeks, or if you had blood in your phlegm.
What to do if you have
- Consult your doctor - He will ask simple questions, examine you and may ask for some tests.
- If he/she suspects cancer, then he would refer to an Oncologist.
How to reduce your risk of developing cancer:
- STOP smoking or tobacco use in any form.
- Be physically active.
- Eat healthy, less calorie, low fat diet.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Protect your skin from sun, avoid over exposure.
- If you follow these, you will protect yourself from 70% of Cancers.
Treatment of Cancer:
Cancer management is a team work which involves:
- Surgery - It refers to the total removal of tumor, if possible, with adjacent normal looking tissue to take care of microscopic disease.
- Radiotherapy - It uses X-rays to destroy cancer cells.
- Systemic Therapy - It uses drugs to destroy cancer cells and includes chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.
Cancer at a glance
- Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells anywhere in the body.
- Unexplained weight loss, skin changes, changes in bowel habits, unusual bleeding, voice change, lumps are worrying signs and symptoms.
- Definitive diagnosis is made by examining the biopsy or cytology sample of the suspected tissue.
- Cancer is preventable by taking simple precautions.
- High Body Mass Index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical.